AITOR Karanka has exalted Craig Hignett’s qualities after recruiting the Middlesbrough legend as his assistant manager.
Hignett made the move from Hartlepool United this week to rejoin Boro, nine months after leaving a coaching role at the Riverside.
Four months had amassed since Karanka’s arrival on Teesside and the appointment of a number two.
The Spaniard cited the need to make the correct decision, owing to Jamie Clapham’s lengthy caretaker spell as his understudy.
“I had to make the right decision,” he said.
“I want to say thanks to Jamie because I was very good with him and he supported me a lot.
“The right person is Craig.
“He is fun, of course, but a worker too.
“He is a person who knows the leagues, the supporters and the players.
“He has all the things I want: a person who loves football, played football here and knows everything. His character is fun and this is important.
“I was assistant at Real Madrid and I believe 100 per cent in the assistant’s role.”
Hignett’s reappearance at the dugout this weekend comes as play-off hunting Ipswich Town visit.
The Tractor Boys are four points shy of a top-six place, significantly better off than Boro who must “win four or five games in a row and then we will have a chance of the play-offs.”
Karanka told BBC Tees: “It is a very important game because we are playing very well, especially last game.
“For this I am calm and relaxed with these two games coming up.
“If we play like we have the last two games I am sure we can win these games.
“Ipswich have been playing well, they’re a good, strong team, but I am concerned with my team and the way we play.”
Goals is the measurement of success, however, and Boro are seven games without one.
Karanka has responded to the goal drought by focusing on shooting practice.
“We need to have more concentration in the last moments,” he added.
“We trained two, three weeks ago to finish because we need to score goals and I hope this Saturday we will score goals.”
He made reference to loan striker Danny Graham: “Danny deserves to score goals, that’s why he came here.
“He works like a kid, he is very professional and he needs the service to score not just one, but a hat-trick.”
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